top 4 complaints of men in couple's therapy

Top 4 Complaints from Married Men and How to Address Them

This post riled me up a bit, so I’m going to respond from my side of the mountain.

Top 4 Complaints I Hear from Men in Couples Counseling from Dr. Psych Mom.

Here are the 4 horsemen of the failed marriage, according to my friend’s counseling practice.

  1. “She doesn’t seem interested in me anymore.”
  2. “She is too anxious about/focused on the kids.”
  3. “There isn’t any fun, we are constantly rushing and it always feels like a crisis.”
  4. “She has let herself go.”

So, without paraphrasing or going after my friend’s post, I’m going to address these ideas with only my experience to guide me. This is my truth and my story and may not apply to you or your experience.

“She doesn’t seem interested in me anymore.”

A very familiar refrain amongst men. She’s not interested in sex. She’s not interested in my work stories or my weekend hobbies. She seems too focused on the kids and her crisis of the moment.

Here are a couple of ideas for why this might be.

  • You are not being that interesting.
  • You are not firing her up emotionally or sexually.
  • You need to get your own shit together, she will respond to that.
  • You have to be clear with your requests. Unspoken agreements will get all of us in trouble. If you have a complaint speak it.

If your woman is not interested in you take note: This is a crisis you need to attend to. Both of you it together about what you need, want, and demand in your relationship. If either of you are off sulking and building resentment about this topic, get over yourself and tell your partner. If they are unwilling or unable to meet your relationship requirements, you have a different decision to make.

“She is too anxious about/focused on the kids.”

Okay, so your partner is distracted, busy, and seems to be on the verge of crisis all the time. Let’s take this in two parts.

Her Distress

  • Kids activities are a priority in my life, and I don’t have time to get it all done
  • There is a kid-issue and I’m overwhelmed
  • I don’t have time for our relationship, can’t you see how busy I am?
  • I don’t have any time for myself

Your Distress

  • She’s always distant and distracted
  • She’s always tired
  • She complains and gets mad at the drop of a hat
  • We’re always so focused on her crisis and the kid’s needs, what about my needs, and the relationship needs

A Few Ideas

  • Can you take some of the tasks off her plate?
  • Can you accept that she’s not happy, and there’s not much you can do about it, but stand-in and be supportive

You cannot rescue another person from their own distress, but you can be reassuring and make attempts to lighten their overall load, especially if it’s kid-stuff

“There isn’t any fun, we are constantly rushing and it always feels like a crisis.”

Ah, we all know how hard “crisis mode” is for everyone. The kids are stressed. Your wife is stressed. And the wear and tear is having a detrimental effect on your relationship. Okay so what are the tools you can use to address the habit of “crisis mode” management?

Some Ideas About Crisis-Mode

  • Is the crisis emotional?
  • Is the crisis about scheduling?
  • Is the crisis about load-balancing in the relationship?

Some Ideas About Fun

  • Plan it.
  • Be spontaneous.
  • Commit to it and do it.
  • Both partners have to be responsible for injecting fun into the experience of life.
  • Take action to put fun back in your life.

“She has let herself go.”

The first question to my men readers, “Have you let yourself go?”

The second question to my men readers, “How fit is fit enough and how realistic are your expectations?”

The third question to my men readers, “Can you do things to engage her in fun exercise and play that includes exercise?”

The fourth question to my men readers, “Can you love her anyway?” Are you seeking an ideal partner rather than the partner you are with?

And then the truth: sometimes people let themselves go for different reasons. Is your woman getting enough support and affection? Are they depressed or dealing with a physical illness? Can you love your partner at every level of fitness?

In my marriage, I appreciated my wife in all of her fitness levels. I really grooved into her body when she was pregnant with both of our children. And as she got back into fitness, from time to time she would get too skinny. I know this is about me and not her, but I liked her with a tad more love to hold onto. Again, that’s about me. I loved her in every shape she came in. I was able to love her regardless of her exact physical shape. She, in turn, did also love me through some trying times of my own.

Can you love your partner in her current form? Is this “fitness” you seek and desire a realistic potential or are you looking for someone a bit more like Emily Blunt? More like some “type” you’ve become enamored with?

Getting Real About Our Marital Satisfaction

Are you complaining about things that can be addressed and changed? Are you making unrealistic demands? Are you simply seeking a reason to bolt and find some new woman, some new thrill? These questions go for both partners in a relationship. It is each of our individual responsibilities to address our complaints, our desires, and our non-negotiables. If you can get clear on what’s behind these mundane complaints you can either address them in the relationship or change the relationship.

Make a change or learn to be happy with what you have. Change is the only real choice of action. Be IN or OUT of your relationship, but don’t nag and complain and then not take responsibility in your own life and your own participation in the relationship.

In the end, I think my approach is more like a coach. What is happening? What is your responsibility to change or ask for? What’s your action plan? Let’s get on with it. My friend is much more concerned with what’s behind the issues and how a change of heart or psychological breakthrough might address the problems. Both systems are valid at various times along our journey both as an individual and as a couple.

Let’s get on with our own lives of love and appreciation.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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